Follow on positive COVID-19 test of Montreal Canadiens interim coach Dominique Ducharme, Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston was the first to report that Ducharme will truly miss the next two weeks as a result. Although the NHL has relaxed several rules pertaining to its COVID protocol, a positive test still guarantees an isolation period of 14 days. Especially when the Canadians have been fortunate not to have any other positive evidence between their players and their staff, the league wants to maintain the health and safety of the team as well as the integrity of its semifinals.
That said, losing Ducharme is a blow to Montreal. The interim coach led the team in an unexpectedly triumphant playoff in terms of the mid-season replacement for Claude Julien. The Habs are now relying on an interim coach to assist Luke Richardson, who coached the team for a Game 3 victory. Assuming Ducharme’s 14-day isolation began Friday when the positive test is been discovered, the first he can return to the bench will be Friday, July 2nd. Saturday, June 26, almost a week before Ducharme ended his isolation.
Richardson and the Canadiens will have to pull together a couple more wins in the semifinals and potentially even a win or two in the Stanley Cup Final if Ducharme is to coach again this season.
Here are some more coaching notes from the league …
- Ron Francis, Seattle Kraken, GM Francis keep things notoriously close to the vest, and his current research into coaching is no different. Altronde Rick Tocchet, who has been interviewed for a number of vacancies so far makes his offer for the inaugural Seattle coaching role more public, doesn’t know much about who else may be a finalist for the job. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports that Francis brought a few candidates to Seattle this week for in-person interviews, but could confirm Tocchet as one – his third interview for the position. Friedman speculates that New York Rangers fighter David Quinn, Boston Bruins assistant Joe Sacco, and Tony Granato of the University of Wisconsin, recently licensed, could be the other names in the mix. Tocchet certainly seems to be the favorite at this point, but don’t be shocked if Francis ends up making a surprise purchase.
- Friedman also notes that other NHL teams are interested in Toronto Maple Leafs assistant coaches and have asked permission to speak with them. Friedman does not name any particular coaches, but of his group of assistant senior head coaches, Dave Hakstol and Paul MacLean could certainly attract interest, as they could go on furious. Manny Malhotra. At this time, the Maple Leafs have not made any decisions on whether to allow their assistants to explore these opportunities, especially since they are likely to be sideways moves.